“Story” by Steven James (A Revell Blog Tour with Review)

Looking at Easter–Based on Eden to Evermore

Storyteller Recaptures the Mystery of the Ancient Scriptures, Launches Innovative Webcast.

Only God could tell a story this ludicrous and then claim that it’s true,” says Steven James, who penned Story: Recapture the Mystery (Revell, Feb. 2006), which makes the Bible come alive in provocative ways, encapsulating the mystery of the Christian story.

James, a professional storyteller from eastern Tennessee, grew up in a Christian home—but fell in love with Jesus at age 21 on Easter Sunday.

Through 30 short chapters, James revisits key scenes from the Christian story: from the Garden of Eden to the Israelites’ plea for freedom and the love/hate struggles between people and God in the Old Testament. Story illuminates Jesus’s miraculous birth and daring ministry on earth, building to the “rising terror” of the crucifixion and rediscovery of freedom following the resurrection.

At one point, James paints the brutal murder of Abel in the Old Testament through the eyes of his brother Cain. He views Jesus dancing and turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana through the testimony of the bewildered bride. At another, he writes as a frightened onlooker as Jesus struggles to carry his cross to Golgotha, and captures the chaos sweeping through the Holy Land following the resurrection. All the while, James relates the events of the Bible to life on earth today.

“I’m thankful Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. Jesus didn’t arrive on earth to debate theology but to propose marriage. In a very real spiritual sense, God is courting us. Christianity is wild. It’s intimate. It’s heartbreaking and soul-mending,” writes James.

However, James believes the real meaning of Christianity, especially Easter, has been lost in the last 2,000 years. “Easter has evolved into just another nice, harmless, spineless, little holiday . . . when it’s supposed to be about a wrestling match between life and death, a cosmic struggle between good and evil.” James invites readers to meet Jesus again—or for the very first time.

Reviews

Author Bio:

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has penned 30+ books spanning the genres of psychological thrillers, dramas,YA fantasy, and more. Steven has received wide critical acclaim for his work, including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009, 2011 & 2012 Christy Awards for best suspense. His thriller, The Queen, won the 2012 Christy Award for Best Suspense Novel, the 2012 ECPA for Best Christian Novel, and it was a finalist for an International Thriller Award. His first novel in the Patrick Bowers series, The Pawn, was optioned by ABC Studios in 2010.

Steven earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers.

Steven serves as a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest. He appears regularly as a keynote speaker at events throughout North America.

This book is an updated 2012 version of his book, Story, from 2006.

Find Steve at:   http://www.stevenjames.net

Endorsements:

“James’s luxuriant writing is deeply perceptive of the divinity, humanity, and mystery of Christ.  The book is an astonishingly personal journey of God’s love for weak, fallen humanity.” —CBA Retailers + Resources

“Often beautiful, often haunting, and thoroughly compelling…. A reminder that Christ’s promise of ‘life, anew’ is constantly with us, then, now and always.”  —BookPage

“A journey full of wonder, tears, joy, despair, and hope revealed through the eyes and heart of a storyteller.”  –-Publishers Weekly, starred review

My Review:

Steven James, in Story, writes the salvation story through his eyes as a writer and believer from Eden to evermore.  You will find the story line to be unique to Steve, yet basically true to the Word.  Sometimes he gets you to asking more questions than you had before you opened his book, but that is a good thing, as it stretches your own understanding of God’s words. His literary license embellishes on the stories (as Biblical fiction) versus the more concise version in the Bible.  It’s what brings the stories to life, similar to how Jesus told His stories to make a point.

You will see a different side of the author than you do in his thrillers, such as The Pawn, The Rook, etc.   It’s just as riveting and thorough, and his style is as  rich and complete.

His book is filled with many of his original, personal poems that sink down into your heart.  Take the time to read them slowly to glean all he has to say.  Here are a few that spoke to me:

1. touching the unseen
the path is narrow,
my heart is hard,
guide my feet.

break me, God,
for i will not bend,
and i’m not shaped as i should be
anymore.

submission.

2.  touching the unseen
the sweet wine of your blood is on my lips
the tender mystery of your body is on my tongue

in the background of this meal i can hear
the desperate shrieks of the Egyptians
and the gentle whisper of death passing over
the door frame of my soul.

your heart was broken on that cross,
and your blood has soaked deeply
into the wood of my days.

remembrance.

3.  touching the unseen
i was there–
in your heart
on you mind
within your love.
i was there when they crucified my lord.

shivers.

I do struggle with the author’s rendition of the whole Godhead dying on the cross, as that to me denies the Trinity, mainly because Jesus knew He was being forsaken by God since He was carrying the load of our sins and punishment on Himself.  Given my interpretation, The Story will help you find or rediscover the love of God through His redemptive salvation story.

This book was provided by Donna Hausler of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing, in exchange for my honest opinion.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

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